Christopher Hampton

Plays by Christopher Hampton

Appomattox

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

4th March, 1865: On the night of his second inauguration, a few weeks before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln meets the veteran black abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the White House to discuss the prospect of extending the vote to black men who have served in the soon to be victorious Union armies.

4th March, 1965: In the White House, Lyndon Johnson, anxious to introduce a new Voting Rights Act, is briefed by his sinister and "unfirable" FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, on the imminent Selma to Montgomery march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is a demonstration prompted by a state trooper's murder of the young activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, in Marion, Alabama, following a rally in support of voter registration in Perry County.

In this play, Christopher Hampton traces a line which runs from the last days of a brutal Civil War to the high-water mark of the Civil Rights movement and on, all the way to the present day; and considers the agonisingly slow healing of a wound, universal, but especially deep and painful in America: racism.

Appomattox premiered at the McGuire Proscenium Stage in the Guthrie Theater on 5 October, 2012.

Embers

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A remote 18th-century Hungarian castle is the setting for a dramatic meeting. Forty-one years after a tragic event two former friends must confront each other in a devastating bid to lay the past to rest. Betrayal, love, truth and friendship all come to the fore in this unforgettable play based on Sándor Márai's bestselling novel.

Embers premiered at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End in February 2006.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The scandalous reputation of Laclos's novel, first published in 1782, is based on its chilling portrayal of the mannered decadence and sexual cynicism of the French aristocracy in the last years of the ancien regime. Christopher Hampton has made a masterful adaptation for the stage of the conspiracy to corrupt a young girl barely out of her convent.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses was premiered by Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 24 September 1985, and won Christopher Hampton won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1986.

Savages

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

An English diplomat, Alan West, is kidnapped by a political movement in Brazil and kept as a prisoner. Meanwhile, hundreds of Brazilian natives are being slaughtered in countless brutal ways – but the public’s focus is on one of these two atrocities only.

Hampton’s dark examination of human cruelty and willful ignorance was inspired by a Sunday Times article in 1969 recounting the systematic genocide of Brazil's Indians.

Savages premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.

The Talking Cure

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure deals with the early years of C. G. Jung, and his decision to experiment, using Freud's controversial new method of psychoanalysis, with a young Russian patient, Sabine Spielrein. The success of the experiment and the blossoming of his relationship with Sabine inaugurates, haunts and ultimately poisons Jung's friendship with Freud; and the ideas and conflicts which engulf the three of them embody, as Jung comes to realize, the destructive forces which are to overwhelm the disastrous century ahead.

The Talking Cure premiered at the National Theatre, London, in December 2002.

Total Eclipse

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Paris in the late 1800s: the place for artists and romantics. Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, two of the greatest French poets, embark upon a near fatal affair that sparks questions about love, poetry and the importance of present experience.

Christopher Hampton’s historical play takes a close and very human look at the two world-famous poets, exploring the power of art and the nature of creativity, questioning how much of oneself one should give – both to one’s craft and to the person one loves.

Total Eclipse premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1968.

Treats

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

While her bullying and unfaithful boyfriend, Dave, is away reporting, Ann seizes the opportunity to change the locks and take up with her infinitely more considerate colleague Patrick. But Patrick proves no match against savagery and charisma when Dave comes crashing home, determined to win back his girl.

Treats was first staged at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1976.

Christopher Hampton was born in the Azores in 1946. He wrote his first play, When Did You Last See My Mother? at the age of eighteen. Since then, his plays have included The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, White Chameleon, The Talking Cure and Appomattox. He has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, von Horváth, Chekhov, Florian Zeller (including The Father), Daniel Kehlman and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). Musicals include Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward, both with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac. His screenplays include The Honorary Consul, The Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total Eclipse, The Quiet American, Carrington, The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina, the last three of which he also directed, and A Dangerous Method, based on his play The Talking Cure. Appomattox was first presented on the McGuire Proscenium Stage of the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, USA, in September 2012 as the centrepiece of a major retrospective of his plays and films. It was subsequently turned into an opera by Philip Glass and premiered at the Kennedy Center, Washington in November 2014., Christopher Hampton wrote his first play When Did You Last See My Mother? at the age of eighteen. Later plays include The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, White Chameleon, The Talking Cure and Appomattox; and numerous translations. Musicals include Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward. TV and film: The History Man, Hotel du Lac, The Honorary Consul, The Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total Eclipse, The Quiet American, A Dangerous Method, Carrington, The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina, the last three of which he also directed.